Strap on your feedbag, Kansas City. Fringe Fest 2008 crams a year's worth of art, dance, music, theater, film and whatever into less than a week — more than 250 performances of 67 shows. Tonight's kickoff party begins at 7 at 1915 Main. Before you open wide and gorge, here's a look at some festival highlights.• The Coppelia Project clown ballet takes inspiration from 18th-century German fantasist E.T.A. Hoffman. It's the work of local actress Heidi Stubblefield, a clown and all-around queen of dead art forms who's funny and graceful enough to pull off something like this. She'll stage it at various times Wednesday through Sunday at Just Off Broadway Theatre (3051 Central). • The space music of Brother Iota runs July 24-27 at the Arts Incubator (1735 Walnut). Iota's improvised electronica is as stark, alien and exciting as those new NASA photos of the Martian sunset. • The avant-garde musical "junk melodrama" La Putain Avec Les Fleurs is set in 1940s France and features bears, puppets and vintage musical instruments. It runs July 24, 26 and 27 in the West Bottoms (1221 Union). • The same fringers also bring The Bric-a-Brac Vintage Vagabond Variety Show, an all-ages, old-timey vaudeville homage through July 26 at Just Off Broadway (3051 Central). • The locally written King of Comedy stars excellent Kansas City actor George Forbes as Jesus. The show calls the King of Kings "one of the greatest entertainers who ever walked on water." Promo material includes the best PR line of the festival: "If you thought Mel Gibson's Passion was funny, wait until you see the one, the holy, Jesus Christ, King of Comedy." Catch it July 24-27 at XS Lighting (1632 Broadway). • The Improv Mini-Dome is a bite-sized version of the sellout Improv Thunderdome, which pits the best local improv comic troupes against one another in half-hour sets July 23, 25 and 27 at the Hollywood Room, in the former Paddy O'Quigley's (100 East 20th Street). The smart money is on Spite on July 25 or Loaded Dice on July 23. For more events and shows, see kcfringe .org.
July 21-27, 2008